A stretch mark, commonly called striae in the medical community, is a type of scarring on the skin that can occur anytime during life. To understand exactly what a stretch mark is, and how is occurs, you must first understand the make up of our tissue. Our skin is made up of two key components, collagen and elastin. These two ingredients are what allow us to grow and stretch, without collagen and elastin our skin would become hard and stiff with no elasticity. It is when the skin is stretched to its limit that the fibers break and the stretch mark occurs.
Although a stretch mark can technically occur at any time, it is most likely to occur during puberty or pregnancy. This is because hormones are thought to play a huge role in the development of stretch marks. There has been great speculation that high levels of certain hormones, such as glucocorticoids, can actually make your skin more susceptible to stretch marks, by decreasing the amount of collagen that the body produces, which is why pregnant women and adolescents are more prone to them.
Now, just because hormones are thought to play a role in the formation of stretch marks does not mean that ALL pregnant women or adolescents will develop them. Nor does it mean that if you develop stretch marks that your hormones are going crazy, it is simply a hypothesis at this time, and thought to make the conditions more favorable for a stretch mark to appear. Fact is that when constant pressure or stretching is placed on the skin the dermis layer of the skin will essentially crack under the pressure, creating the lovely stretch mark.
No one can tell you for sure if you will develop stretch marks, or at what point you will develop the stretch marks, all this depends greatly on your skin. Some individuals have more collagen and elastin which will make there skin more pliable, or stretchy. Where another may have a very small amount of these components and develop stretch marks very easily. Collagen and elastin also play a key role in aging, so predicting if you will develop stretch marks is about like trying to predict at what point you will develop wrinkles, it is just not possible. You can however, try to prevent stretch marks, and aging, by taking very good care of your self and your skin!
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